With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for consumers purchasing electric appliances.
Electrical appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines are found in almost every European home, along with dryers, freezers, dishwashers and small appliances such as toasters and kettles.
Thanks to the internal market, EU consumers have a wide choice, as products that available in one EU country can be sold in all the others as well. EU law provides for a legal guarantee period of two years, during which defective products must be repaired or replaced without any cost to the consumer.
For the safe and effective use of your appliances, it is essential that you understand the instructions. That’s why under EU rules the manual must be available in the language of the country where the product is sold. EU rules also require electrical appliances sold in the EU to bear the CE label, to show that they conform to safety standards.
When choosing an appliance, you tend to compare the function and the price. Thanks to EU energy labels, you can also see how much energy and water the appliance will use. Each appliance is labelled with a category from F (worst) to A (best). Thanks to EU rules on ecodesign, household products are becoming more energy efficient, and many products nowadays fall into class A, which has been divided into four subclasses (A, A+, A++, A+++). In order to keep up with technological progress and make the labels easier to understand, the labelling system is going to be revised to return to the F to A system, without subdivisions. Ecodesign rules also ensure that power consumption when appliances are on standby mode is negligible (no more than 0.5 Watts).
- European Commission FAQs on guarantees and returns, https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/shopping/guarantees-returns/faq/
- European Commission website on energy efficient products, https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/energy-efficient-products
- European Commission website on CE marking, https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market/ce-marking_en